I've Gone Google

More and more, I find myself using a different computer at different times of the day. In connection with my job I now have a desktop computer (an iMac), a PowerBook laptop running OS X, and an HP laptop running Ubuntu and Windows Vista. At home, the jumble continues as I find myself occasionally using our family eMac (OS X) and my wife's newly acquired laptop (also running Vista - thank you very much, TeacherTube).

Hence, I've discovered a desperate need to become portable. These are the steps I've taken to find portable serenity.

Email - Digging through Gmail's settings, I found two key features that have sealed the deal. The first is the ability to add another email account in Gmail and the other is IMAP.

Because I wanted to simplify everything (and because Gmail will now allow me to add a second email address), I decided to forward my work email to my Gmail account. This will make it so I only have to check and send email in one location.

I've since learned that IMAP is really cool. Following these instructions, I configured my local mail clients to access my Gmail using IMAP. Now when I delete a message on my local machine (using my local mail client - Apple Mail or Outlook), regardless of which machine it is, it is automatically deleted on the Gmail servers as well. Furthermore, if I delete a message using Gmail's web-based client, it is also deleted on my local machines. Very cool.

Calendar - Having used Apple's iCal to maintain my calendar for the last year or so (and severely disliking Leopard's rendition of iCal), I decided to move my calendars over to Google Calendar. Needless to say, I'm very pleased. I'm particularly impressed with Google Calendar's ability to share calendars, as well as import shared calendars into iCal. Thus, I now maintain the calendar using Google Calendar's online portal, but can view them offline. Very cool, part 2.

Documents - Now this is an area where I'm still not completely comfortable. Without using .Mac, I know of no easy way to distribute my documents/photos/etc. to multiple computers (and across platforms). For now, I'm willing to create/upload portable documents using Google Docs, Spreadsheets, and Presentations (or transfer them via Thumb-drive). Oddly, I've found that I rarely need the same document on different computers. Cool, but could be cooler.

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